Tag Archives: Sleep Training

Get To Know The Moms Behind Some Of Our Most Exciting Summer Sleep Stories!

Family Features Sleep Miracles

It’s the last week, readers – the last week to meet another incredible mom in our Family Features stories! Over the past few weeks, we’ve met Jenny, Vikki, and Whitney, and learned how, with the help of The Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultants, they helped their babies learn to sleep independently, through the night, and nap well. Scroll down to read their stories, if you missed them.

Today’s final story is brought to you by Jennifer. And let me tell you – Jennifer’s story is awesome. See, we weren’t the first sleep consulting organization she contacted. Jennifer had worked with THREE other sleep consultants, trying to solve Maddy’s persistent sleep struggles, and NONE of them had been able to help her. NONE. Not surprisingly, she didn’t hold out much hope that her Personalized Sleep Plan™ would help much, either, but she bought it anyway, just to try.

I’m happy to report that Jennifer was wrong about her Personalized Sleep Plan™. It proved to be exactly the solution she needed. Read on, and learn how Jennifer, with the help of her consultant Liz, finally found sleep coaching success!

 
 

Meet Jennifer, and Hear How, After 3 Sleep Consulting Failures, She Finally Found The Help She Needed At The Baby Sleep Site®

(written by Jennifer Smith)
 
WashingtonIMAGE1Oh, how I remember the day I signed up for the personalized sleep plan on The Baby Sleep Site. Tears rolled down my face as I hit the payment button. I had just read the testimonials of other parents and knew, without a doubt, that I would never, ever be in their company. After Maddy’s severe colic finally abated, we had a window of about three weeks where she slept just like all the books said she would.

And then, it stopped. She would only sleep if she was on me in the baby bjorn and I was moving, or in my arms and I was bouncing on the exercise ball. I remember bouncing as my husband left for work early in the morning; when he returned late in the evening, I was still there, still bouncing. Thank heavens for my iPad, my Netflix subscription, and “30 Rock.”

The worst, though, was when neither bouncing, nor the baby bjorn, nor vigorous gliding would work. Hour upon hour of screams and cries. We re-read every book and tried every method. When that didn’t work, we contacted sleep consultants. Two fired us because their methods should have worked but didn’t. The third just stopped responding. I spent long days checking and consoling Maddy through naps she never took. At night, it would take at least 90 minutes and sometimes more than three hours of absolute misery for her to find the sleep we so desperately wanted her to get. I tried to remember my mom’s advice: “if mom isn’t relaxed, baby cannot be relaxed.” But nothing seemed to work. Until we found co-sleeping. Relieved, we gave ourselves over to it. It wasn’t restful, it was completely disruptive to our household, but at least Maddy was sleeping and we were getting more sleep than we were used to.

And then that, too, stopped working, and we were back to square one.

When I confessed to my husband that I had engaged yet another sleep consultant, I sobbed. “It’s just more good money after bad, but I can’t live like this any longer. I have to have something, even if it’s just false hope.” If that sentence reads dramatic, you’re getting sleep. Sleep deprivation, as my friend told me, is the thief of perspective. It is also the thief of joy. We loved Maddy desperately, and we desperately needed her to sleep so we could get the rest we needed.

When the personalized sleep plan arrived, I devoured it and felt a huge rush of relief. I showed it to my husband, who also took heart. It was helpful, understanding, and clear. Context was provided for all the suggestions and there was enough wiggle room for us to tailor it to our specific parenting styles and abilities.

WashingtonIMAGE3As we proceeded, guess what? It didn’t work. And so I dropped it. Having been dismissed before, I just didn’t have the heart to be turned away again. But I came back because I had to—I just had to try again. That’s when we found out that “generous” doesn’t begin to describe The Baby Sleep Site’s email support. I explained what happened to our consultant, Liz, and she picked it right up, asked questions, conferred with me, and together we tweaked the plan. In the ensuing weeks, I emailed over large issues and very small questions. I mean, I wanted ALL MY BASES COVERED so I asked every single question I could come up with—sometimes more than once. Liz responded in a timely way and always addressed both the questions asked and those that were implied—the questions I was too sleep-deprived to form. The kindness and care Liz showered on us surprised me. With other sleep consultants, they were certain and directive. “Do this, and Maddy will sleep.” But the suggestions didn’t always work. And sometimes, we proved fallible (as people—sleep-deprived or otherwise—are prone to be). Liz walked me through every little detail, cheered us on for every success, and reassured me with every misstep.

With the counsel of Liz and The Baby Sleep Site, Maddy went from co-sleeping to sleeping through the night in her own crib with the least amount of tears of any sleep training program. What seemed to me an insurmountable mountain was summited one step at a time. I really felt roped to Liz and knew that she had my back if I slipped or was unsure. The directions from her were so helpful and clear that every night, I knew going in exactly what to do. When Maddy had trouble clearing a new hurdle, and I started to feel helpless, I just reminded myself, “your only job right now is to do x.” Knowing that Liz was keeping an eye on the big picture allowed me to just do the next thing. I didn’t have to worry about how on earth Maddy was EVER going to sleep in her crib ALL NIGHT. I just had to do x. I just had to do y. And then, as the successes started piling up, I became more confident. And as I became more confident, so did Maddy.

It’s hard to put into words just how much our lives have changed. I become quite emotional when I think about it. My husband and I can now talk without Maddy present—a huge gift. He and I can sleep in the same bed all night long. By ourselves. Instead of trying to figure out how to make it through another day, I am rested and happy when I hear Maddy stirring in the morning. We can think about expanding our family. I can read a book, or a magazine, or watch a show.

A few weeks after successfully sleep training Maddy, she became ill with a bad cold. She was terribly congested and could only find rest if I held her upright in my arms. Once she was well again, who was happy to get back to their respective sleep spaces? EVERYONE.

I thought our case was hopeless, I really did. With the help of The Baby Sleep Site, I am another proud member of the satisfied client list. And I am as well-rested as any mother of a strong-willed and independent 18 month-old can be.

 
 
WOW – just wow. Jennifer’s story is proof that our sleep consultants really can help just about any baby sleep – even a baby who has baffled three other sleep consultants! And they will do it in a supportive, non-judgmental way that leaves you feel encouraged and empowered instead of defeated and abandoned. And as Jennifer’s story shows, it’s not an overstatement to call a consultation with The Baby Sleep Site® life-changing. In Jennifer’s case, it absolutely changed her life, and saved her from spiraling even further into exhaustion and despair. A consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant really is an investment – in your baby’s (and your) health, in your sanity, in your relationship with your partner, in your overall quality of life…this is more than just a purchase. It’s an investment in your family. And we hope it’s an investment you’ll consider making today!
 
 
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Meet Whitney, and Hear How She Took Her Daughter From Screamer To Sleeper!

Meet Whitney, a loving and engaged mom whose daughter was a decent sleeper for the first 18 months of her life. Sure, she’d wake up once, or maybe twice, during the night, but it wasn’t anything Whitney and her husband couldn’t handle.

But then a double-ear infection struck, and everything fell apart.

Keep reading to find out how, with unlimited help from Nicole, Whitney and her husband were able to help their toddler re-learn how to sleep – and to start sleeping through the night for the first time in her life!

 
 

The Baby Sleep Site: Welcome, Whitney! So – you had a tough little sleeper at home before you contacted The Baby Sleep Site, right?

Whitney:Berlinandmom6mos-1 You bet! In terms of sleep, things had gotten so out of hand in our household that we weren’t sure what we needed more–a baby sleep expert or an exorcist! For most of her life, our daughter had “only” been waking once or twice a night–but at 19 months she came down with infections in both ears. By the time she was well again we had completely undone any sleep progress we had made–she was now waking up 4 or 5 times a night and screaming for a half hour at a time.

The Baby Sleep Site: Holy cow, Whitney – I understand the urge for an exorcist! How discouraging, especially since you’d enjoyed 19 months of decent sleep. So frustrating!

Whitney: It really was. After three weeks of this, my husband and I were tense, cranky, and exhausted to the point where I was hesitant to get behind the wheel of the car, I was so tired. Of course, we got lots of (conflicting) advice, which we did our best to follow–until the sheer exhaustion and confusion wore us down. We knew that we needed a clear, consistent road map–and fast. I posted a desperate message on Facebook and a friend pointed me to The Baby Sleep Site.

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! We love it when we hear about referrals like that – so awesome to see moms helping other moms, and spreading the word about The Baby Sleep Site! So, once you visited the site and saw what we had to offer – what did you think?

Whitney: Honestly, at first we were hesitant to hire a sleep consultant. It seemed like such an extravagant luxury…and things weren’t really that bad, were they? Well, we went through one more night of screaming–and got in touch with a consultant the next morning!

The Baby Sleep Site: Ha! I love that – you’re right that sometimes, in the light of day, things seem more manageable, but then when you’re up all night again the next night, it’s back to feeling desperate. Totally understandable. So, tell us – what package did you buy?
 

Whitney: We opted for the unlimited 30-day e-mail package and sleep plan, which turned out to be a godsend. Nicole held our hands for the entire journey. She began by taking a thorough history of our issues and goals. Then she sent us a lucid, frogB-onBugstep-by-step plan to remedy the various individual problems that were collectively contributing to our daughter’s poor sleep. We could tell she had a lot of experience with frustrated, sleep-deprived parents–the way she communicates is so clear, gentle and easy to follow.

Thanks to our e-mail subscription, we were able to reach out to Nicole any time day and night (I sometimes emailed her multiple times during the night and by the next morning she would have answered every single email!). She validated our frustrations and offered genius advice. Because she had spent so much time getting to know how we work as a family, all of her suggestions were tailored to us (for instance, she knew that I couldn’t stand more than a few minutes of crying at a time, and she knew that we were willing to take several weeks to get to our goal if need be). Above all, she offered humor, empathy and a hearty dose of encouragement to get us through the roughest patches.

 

The Baby Sleep Site: Yep – that sounds like Nicole! Her heart is huge – especially for sleep-deprived parents. ;-) Tell us, Whitney: after a few weeks of working with Nicole on an unlimited basis, what happened?
 

Whitney: Today, I am astounded at how far we’ve come. We wrapped up our consultation a few weeks ago, and the past few weeks have been some of the best of my life. Nope, angels haven’t descended from the sky and I haven’t won the lottery–but my husband and I have been sleeping (drumroll, please…) 8 or 9 hours a night–really! Now that we’re replenishing the sleep debt, we’re finally communicating like the loving, compassionate couple we were before. We’ve also had the energy to cook, clean, go to the park and play with our daughter–and even catch up with our friends. In short, we have gotten our lives back. At almost 21 months old, our daughter is now truly sleeping through the night for the first time in her life!! The results are incredible–she’s much more cheerful during the day and has blossomed under our eyes. Signing up with The Baby Sleep Site has been one of the best investments we have ever made!

 
 
Pretty amazing, right? Whitney’s story is further proof that it’s never too late to sleep train – even if your toddler has never slept through the night a day in his life, we can help. And, it’s also proof that sleep can fall apart with any setback – that’s why it’s great to have us as a trusted resource to turn to! And did you catch that last line? Whitney referred to her consultation purchase as an investment. That’s really what this is, readers. A consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant is an investment – in your baby’s (and your) health, in your sanity, in your relationship with your partner, in your overall quality of life…this is more than just a purchase. It’s an investment in your family. And we hope it’s an investment you’ll consider making today!
 
 
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Meet Vikki, and Hear Her Sleep Coaching Story

Readers, meet Vikki! Vikki’s little Lyla was a pretty good sleeper early on, and she was a GREAT napper! But then the 4 month sleep regression hit, AND Lyla began to learn how to break free of her swaddle…and at that point, Lyla’s great sleeping habits were history. First night sleep started to suffer…then nap sleep…and pretty soon, no one was sleeping much at all. Add to this the fact that Lyla was one of those babies who just actively fought sleep (as Vikki described it to me, Lyla fought sleep “like a little prize fighter”!), and you can understand why Vikki contacted us for help! She had tried sleep training on her own, but it just wasn’t working, and she knew she needed some personalized help. Fortunately, Vikki and her sleep consultant, Jen, were able to get Lyla’s sleep back on track. Read on to learn more!

 
The Baby Sleep Site: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us today, Vikki! Let’s start by getting a better sense of what brought you to The Baby Sleep Site® in the first place. You mentioned to me that sleep really started to suffer when Lyla was a few months old – before that, sleep was better, right?

Vikki: Yes. From the time she was about 6 weeks old, Lyla was sleeping in The Meldrums 2013_4-3her crib, swaddled. And she was sleeping through the night, all on her own, from 7-8 p.m. until about 6 a.m. It was great! But then, when she was about 3 or 3.5 months old, she started to break free of her swaddle on a regular basis. We knew that wasn’t safe, so we stopped swaddling her. At that point, all hell broke loose!

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, no! That must have been frustrating for you and Brian. :( Now, you tried to do some sleep training you your own at this point, right? When Lyla was about 4 months old? Tell us about that.

Vikki: Oh, boy – where to start! Well, to begin, Lyla used to be a world-class sleeper. She would fuss very little, and had a great nap schedule. But then, once the Great Swaddle Break of 2013 took place, she got fussier. We tried nap training with her when she was about 4 months old, and it actually went very well – by the time she was 5 months old, she’d go down for naps drowsy but awake and not fuss at all.

The Baby Sleep Site: Wow – that’s great, Vikki!

Vikki: Vikki MeldrumWell, it would have been great – if it had lasted! Unfortunately, everything fell apart once we started trying to work on nighttime sleep training, when Lyla was about 5.5 months old. It was a nightmare. We tried various hybrids of sleep training methods – we did the check-and-console method, we tried picking her up to calm her and then putting her back down in her crib for sleep, we tried Ferberizing – nothing worked. Lyla just screamed and screamed and screamed. For hours. Finally, things got so bad that she started clawing at her head and neck, and actually drawing blood. At that point, I threw in the towel and did whatever I needed to in order to help Lyla fall asleep. That’s when I started rocking/walking/feeding her to sleep at night and for naps.

The Baby Sleep Site: Vikki, this must have been awful for all of you!

Vikki: It was heartbreaking to see her so upset. Lyla is normally such a happy, engaged, adorable baby – the only time she really wailed was when it came to go to sleep. Honestly, she would just fight sleep – it was so frustrating!

The Baby Sleep Site: So this was about the time that you reached out to The Baby Sleep Site, correct? Tell us a bit about the start of your consultation.

Vikki: I filled out my sleep history form and sent it off to Jen, my consultant. This was on a Thursday night – by Monday afternoon, I had my Personalized Sleep Plan™ waiting in my inbox! I was honestly so excited about it – I knew it was just what Brian and I needed. Brian and I read over the plan together and then got to work putting into practice at home.

The Baby Sleep Site: Great! So, tell us about what happened once you started using Jen’s recommendations at home.

Vikki: The plan was pretty gentle in nature, which I liked – I know we would have to expect some crying, but I didn’t want Lyla to have to endure long stretches of crying, especially since we knew from our past attempts at sleep training that it wouldn’t go well! So, we started off by gradually weaning Lyla away from her need to breastfeed to sleep. Following the plan, I was able to get Lyla to fall asleep without breastfeeding pretty quickly, which was a huge victory! However, we had some setbacks early on, too. We quickly figured out that if I stayed in the room with Lyla while she was falling asleep, it just made things worse! After e-mailing back and forth with Jen, though, we came up with some modifications to the plan, and that really helped.

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! So glad you took the time to follow up with Jen and work with her on modifying the plan as necessary. That’s the beauty of the follow-up help that comes built in to the packages; it lets parents and consultants work together to continually improve the plan, and to adjust things that aren’t working well.

Vikki: Yes! We ended up making a few tweaks to our plan, based on what my husband and I were seeing with Lyla. One of those was to actually work on nights and naps at the same time – we started out trying to work on them separately, but we quickly realized that was confusing for Lyla. We talked it over with Jen, and everyone agreed that we should try sleep coaching for naps and nights together. That change to the plan ended up making a big difference! It still took Lyla awhile to learn how to fall asleep on her own, but once Brian and I began using the same approach at naps and at night, and stuck to it consistently, Lyla began to get the hang of it.

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo!

Vikki: Ha – woohoo indeed! I think the best thing about the consultation process with Jen was that, with her help, Brian and I realized that we needed to The Meldrums3set up ‘rules’ (for ourselves and for Lyla) about how we were going to handle Lyla’s sleep challenges. For example, going through this process made Brian and I realize that it was key for us to leave Lyla in her crib once we had put her down for sleep – picking her up to comfort her was only making things worse. Now, when she’s fussing in her crib, we get down on eye-level with her and offer hugs and pats through the crib slats, and talk to her, but everyone understands that she has to stay in the crib when it’s time to sleep. We have a few other rules like that, too, which have been a key part of helping us improve Lyla’s sleep. We worked closely with Jen and Nicole in developing these rules, and Brian and I have worked hard to stick to them and stay consistent. And it’s paying off!

The Baby Sleep Site: Okay, so speaking of ‘paying off’, let’s move on to the part that everyone is most interested in – did your consultation work? Is Lyla sleeping better now?

Vikki: In a word – yes! I am delighted to report that now, thanks to the sleep coaching we did with Jen’s help, Lyla is successfully going to sleep on The Meldrums 2013_4-27her own (and happily, for the most part!) for her naps AND for bedtime. What’s more, she is completely night-weaned now – and it only took me 10 days to get her to drop that last, unnecessary night feed! Getting Lyla to this point was definitely work, and the process wasn’t always smooth. There are still nights when, persistent little girl that she is, she protests at bedtime. But when I think about the fact that we went from having a little girl who screamed for hours and didn’t want to sleep, and would only fall asleep if I nursed her, to having a little girl who understands the rules, knows what to expect, and sleeps 12 hours a night and takes great naps – I have to say, I’m so proud!

Lyla’s quality of sleep is better, my brain is better, our household is happier, and our overall quality of life is so improved, thanks to the plan that Jen and Nicole created and all the support they provided. I honestly can’t thank them enough for their help – I am forever grateful!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awwww…thanks, Vikki! Stories like these are what all the hard work worth it. :) Sounds like your consultation experience with Jen was really, really positive.

Vikki: Yes! I especially loved how accessible Jen was through the entire process. I bought the Deluxe package, so I had three follow-up emails to use, but we exchanged more than three e-mails. When I would ask a quick follow-up question, or when I needed clarification on something in the plan (or even when I just needed some encouragement!), Jen would reply with a short email that she didn’t count against my 3 e-mail total. She ‘charged’ only for lengthier e-mails in which she was giving me new sleep advice. This really made me feel like we were in it together, and that I could approach her when I needed to without having to worry about using up my emails too quickly.

The Baby Sleep Site: I’m so glad, Vikki! Okay, as we wrap up – any final words you want to share?

Vikki: Can I say thanks one more time? Ha! Thanks again for being such an amazing, trusted resource. You guys rule!!

So that’s how Vikki was able to help her little sleep “prize fighter” learn to sleep through the night (12 straight hours, thankyouverymuch – pretty impressive!) and nap like a champ. Vikki couldn’t do it on her own, but she had the wisdom to realize that this didn’t mean she was doing anything “wrong” – it just meant she needed some expert hep! That might be just what you need, too – some expert, personalized guidance. Our sleep consultants are standing by, eager to help you tackle your sleep challenge. What are you waiting for? Get your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!
 
 
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Meet Jenny, and Hear How She Helped Alexis Learn To Sleep!

JennyPic1We’re kicking off our summertime Family Features by introducing Jenny. Jenny first approached us for help when her adorable little Alexis was just 10 weeks old. That’s fairly young to sleep train (although our consultants often work with parents of newborns and young babies), but you see, Jenny is a teacher, and she only had about 5 weeks of maternity leave left. And given the fact that she she was having to hold Alexis pretty much 24-7, and that Alexis was napping a ton and up often at night, it’s understandable why Jenny wanted to sort out Alexis’s sleep before returning to to the classroom!

However, Jenny’s consultation didn’t go quite as she expected. Her little Alexis threw her a few curveballs. But with the help of her consultant, Elaine, Jenny was ultimately able to make BIG changes to Alexis’s sleep. But don’t take my word for it – read on, and hear from Jenny herself!

The Baby Sleep Site: Jennifer, tell us what prompted you to purchase a consultation package from The Baby Sleep Site®.

Jenny: Alexis was very young when I bought my consultation package – she was just about 10 weeks old. The main reason I wanted to work on her sleep early was because, at the time of my purchase, I had about 5 weeks left before I had to return to my teaching job. I knew that once I started back to work, I would need more sleep, and I also knew that I needed a better daytime routine for Alexis, so that my mom (who regularly babysits Alexis) would have an easier time caring for her.

The Baby Sleep Site: Going back to work can definitely be daunting when you have a sleepless little one at home, that’s for sure! So what was Alexis’s sleep like before you started your consultation?

Jenny: Well, first of all, Alexis needed to be held pretty much constantly. That’s not unusual for a 10 week old, of course, but it was getting exhausting, having to hold her all the time. I always needed to hold her in order to her to fall asleep. Alexis also slept off and on a lot during the day (at random times, though – I was letting her pretty much nap on demand), and then she would be up a lot at night. I felt like she might be sleeping too much during the day, but I wasn’t sure.

When I went into the consultation with Elaine, I was really looking for a more structured daytime schedule (although I didn’t want anything rigid), and I was hoping that Elaine would help me to lengthen Alexis’s nighttime sleep. I knew Alexis obviously needed to keep feeding at night, and I actually really enjoyed the nighttime feeds – but I just wanted fewer of them! I loved holding Alexis too, but I knew that we couldn’t continue with me having to hold her all day long.

The Baby Sleep Site: Makes sense! Now, what happened once your consultation started?

Jenny: I was really excited about the plan after I first read it – it was so detailed! I started by asking some clarifying questions on a few points of the plan that I needed help with. Once I got her responses, I felt ready to start!

The Baby Sleep Site: Great! And what happened next, Jennifer? Did you start to see progress?

Jenny: JennyPic2Ha! Not really – the opposite, actually! Within 2 days of trying sleep coaching, Alexis’s sleep seemed worse. I was so discouraged at that point. I wasn’t sure if what was happening was normal – maybe things were supposed to get better before they got worse? I felt uncertain about whether to continue on with the Plan, to speed things up, or to slow things down. Fortunately, I was able to email Elaine and share my concerns with her, and she replied with a really encouraging email. She gave me some general pointers and loads of support, but she also gave me permission (in fact, she urged me!) to follow my gut. She also pointed out that I was starting sleep coaching pretty early, so it might be best to slow down or to stop altogether and just wait a bit longer to sleep coach. This was so comforting to me! Honestly, sometimes it is hard to sort through all the info that’s out there, and to just listen to my instincts.

At that point, I slowed way down in the sleep coaching. I didn’t want to push Alexis too fast. I took it slow for about 6 weeks. Then, not too long after I returned to work, I decided it was time to try sleep coaching again. Alexis had been through the 4 month sleep regression by that point, and her sleep was even more challenging. She was napping a lot during the day, but then restless at night. I had to hold her every night until she fell asleep, which made it tough to grade papers or write lesson plans, or to have any time with my husband. We were also co-sleeping every night, since that was the only way Alexis would sleep well. It finally got the point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I decided to pick up my Personalized Sleep Plan™ and try again.

The Baby Sleep Site: Fantastic! So glad you followed your gut, Jennifer. So – how did attempt #2 go? Better than attempt #1?

Jenny: SO much better! I was still using a gentle approach, the way I had the first time, but within 3 or 4 nights, we had made so, so much progress. I was putting her to bed drowsy but awake, and she was settling on her own, without much fussing at all, and falling asleep on her own. It was great!

A few weeks later, I decided to try working on naps (I had still been rocking her to sleep for naps up to that point). I wasn’t sure Alexis was ready, but my mom had been laying her down for naps awake for a little while, and she said it was going well. So one day, I laid Alexis down awake for all of her daytime naps. Sure enough, she fell asleep and slept great!

But that’s not the best part: that night, after three great naps, I put her down for bed awake, and SHE SLEPT 11 STRAIGHT HOURS IN HER CRIB! I couldn’t believe it! I hadn’t been trying for sleeping through the night at that point – I was fully expecting to feed Alexis at some point during the night. My guess is that, now that Alexis knew how to put herself to sleep, she was able to fall back to sleep on her own quickly when she woke during the night. It was so encouraging to see what a great sleeper she had become!

The Baby Sleep Site: WOW, Jennifer – talk about a big change! Seems like waiting to sleep coach was a great decision!

Jenny: Yes, it was! I literally went from holding her for every nap and every night (and not having any time to talk to my husband, do school work or house work), to co-sleeping during the 4 month sleep regression to putting her down awake and now actually have time to get things done at night and during the day (wow!). I thought it would take much longer since I held her so much, but she really amazed me.

The Baby Sleep Site: We are so, so happy for you, Jennifer. This is such an encouraging story – it’s a great example of why sometimes it makes sense to wait a few weeks before sleep coaching, especially with young babies. It does seems like, by getting your plan early, you were able to instill a good foundation with Alexis, and then that foundation paid off when, about 6 weeks later, you were able to sleep train her in about a week. Congratulations again! Any last words you want to share with our readers before we wrap up your interview?

Jenny: I would love to thank Elaine again! Elaine, thank you SO MUCH for developing a plan for us that was so detailed and matched my comfort level with crying (which was minimal). I also appreciate you encouraging me to follow my instincts about waiting. Thank you for educating me on this process and for helping Alexis become an independent sleeper. I also can’t thank you enough for giving me back some time during the day and at night to tend to the household and my lesson planning/grading. You truly have given me a gift! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There you have it, readers – there may have been a few speed bumps along the way, and the pace may have ended up being slower than Jenny was anticipating, but with Elaine’s help, she was able to help Alexis create healthier sleep associations, and to get her little one sleeping soundly! And you can, too. Our sleep consultants are standing by, eager to help you tackle your sleep challenge. What are you waiting for? Get your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!
 
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Is Sleep Training Selfish? Well, Yes…And No

 
Is Sleep Training Selfish?

Okay, parents, let’s just get it right out in the open. It’s the elephant in the room for many of our consultation clients, but we think it’s high time we addressed it here on the blog, and talked about it openly.

We’re talking about sleep training guilt.

Have you felt this? Does the idea of sleep training in order to achieve hours of glorious, uninterrupted night sleep and long, peaceful naps sound wonderful to you? But maybe it’s also tainted by a weird, lingering feeling of guilt, that somehow even wanting to sleep train (much less actually doing it) is somehow selfish?

If so – you’re not alone. MANY of the families with whom we’ve worked have said this very thing as they’ve started their consultations – “I’m so excited to be doing this finally, but I also feel super guilty. I feel selfish for wanting to fix my child’s sleep!”

Well, readers, this is the question we’re answering in today’s post: Is sleep training selfish? We say yes AND no – read on to find out why!

Sleep Training “Selfishness”: Why The Guilt In The First Place?

Why does sleep training feel selfish in the first place? Well, most of us end up sleep training out of our own crippling exhaustion. While some parents do sleep train solely based on their baby’s needs, for most of us, it’s a combination of “my baby isn’t getting enough sleep, and NEITHER AM I!!” Because, if we’re honest with ourselves, we need sleep, too. We need adequate sleep in order to have healthy relationships with our partners, to enjoy our daily lives and activities, and to be the best parents we can be.

I also think that sleep training guilt over “being selfish” has a lot to do with the pervasive myth of The Super-Mom. What is the super-mom? Well, super-moms…

  • breastfeed with ease (no latching problems, nipple soreness, or supply issues, thankyouverymuch) and do it exclusively for years.
  • …make ALL baby and toddler food from scratch, using only organic, locally-grown ingredients.
  • …can churn out ALL the crafts on Pinterest – and theirs always look just like the pictures. (Meanwhile, mine end up looking a whole lot more like this…anyone else??)
  • …retain their girlish figures indefinitely (because why let a little thing like multiple pregnancies be an excuse for saggy tummies and less-than-lovely breasts?)
  • …have 18 month olds who are potty-trained AND reading independently.
  • …are unfazed by their toddlers’ monster-sized tantrums and NEVER resort to raising their voices or losing their cool.
  • …can happily subsist on just a few hours of sleep per night, and still be patient moms and loving spouses all day long.

Now, not all of these are unachievable dreams — some of these bullet points may describe you, actually! (Although if the bit about the girlish figure fits you, I have to ask — what’s your secret???! ;) And that one about never raising your voice — could someone please tell me how to manage that on a daily basis??) But the point is that there is NO mom out there who fully fits this profile – because it’s not realistic. A mom who could pull all that off would be more robot than human. Especially that last one — while a small percentage of you may be able to function long-term on very little sleep, I’ll be you’re doing just that – functioning. Not living life to the fullest, not enjoying your family and your life – just functioning. And I’ll bet that most of you (me included) can’t even function on just a few hours of sleep for very long.

You know, I used to wish SO HARD that I was the kind of mom who could be up with the baby all night long and then be sweet and calm and happy the next day — but I’m not. Not by a long shot, actually! I need a minimum of 6 hours at night to function well the next day, and if I have a few nights in a row of getting less than 8 hours of sleep, I need to make up for it with one or two nights of getting 9 or 9.5 hours. I used to feel bad about this – can you believe that? I used to feel guilty for needing to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. But it’s true – and I’ll bet most of you can relate. Because that’s not what super-mom is supposed to do; she’s not supposed to let a little thing like constant sleep deprivation slow her down!

Is Sleep Training Selfish? For Some Of Us…Technically Yes!

You know, the word “selfish” is a pretty loaded one – it has a ton of negative connotations. Lots of dictionary definitions define selfish as being supremely concerned with oneself, and not caring about the needs or interests of others. In short – selfishness is bad, by standard definitions!

But do you know what selfishness technically means? Break the word down, and it simply means ‘concern for one’s self.’ By this definition, then, sleep training can be selfish, if you do it out of a concern that you might literally DIE if you don’t start getting enough sleep! Or if you do it for fear that your marriage might fall apart if you and your spouse don’t start getting enough sleep, and you don’t want your partner to leave you. Or if you do it because you feel yourself sinking into a deep depression that you know is brought on by sleep deprivation.

Technically speaking, those are all “selfish” acts – they’re done out of concern for yourself.

But…

Is Sleep Training Selfish? Ultimately, No.

I think we’d all agree that our reasons for sleep training involve more than just our own wellbeing. Most of us sleep train for our spouses and partners, too – we recognize the toll that sleep deprivation is taking on them. And, of course, we do it for our children, because we know that as long as they are waking too often at night, or taking too-short naps, they are not getting the rest they need for healthy development. And many of us know firsthand that our overly-tired children are simply too tired and cranky to enjoy each day – and that’s something that no parent wants for their child!

So, even if some of your motives for sleep training are technically “selfish”, in that they are focused on your needs, it’s likely you have other reasons for sleep training, too.

And what about those “selfish” motives? Should you feel bad about them? In a word – NO. Taking care of yourself, while it may not be part of the “super-mom” myth, is in reality a very, very healthy practice. If you are so busy taking care of everyone else in your family that you completely ignore your own needs, it won’t be long before you are too burnt out to be much use to anyone. Better to pay attention to yourself AND to your children and your partner – better to focus on meeting your own sleep needs AND on making sure that the other members of your family are rested.

You Don’t Have To Feel Selfish For Reclaiming Your Sleep — Let Us Help!

If you feel desperate to solve your baby or toddler’s sleep problems, and to reclaim your own sleep, don’t let yourself be bogged down by guilt! Sleep training may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself and for your family – so why not start today? Our trained sleep consultants are standing by, ready to help you get started. Your consultant will create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you and your family, and walk you through every step of implementation.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.
 

How about you – have you struggled with sleep training guilt? Do you think sleep training is selfish? Share your opinions with us!

 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.

 

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOr, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!

 
Can’t decide which product or service is right for you? Visit our Getting Started Page for help.

 
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bss_ebook_freeguide_leftWant FREE sleep help that you can put to use right away? Download a copy of our free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night! The guide is available to download instantly, which means you can start using the techniques in it as early as tonight. So download now, and learn why your baby is waking at night – and what you can do about it.
 
 
Click here to learn more about how to get your free guide.

A better night’s sleep could be just a few clicks away. So don’t wait – download now, and start your journey to better sleep tonight!
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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Seven: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)

 
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New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

 

BOOT CAMP, PART SEVEN: Celebrate Success (No Matter How Small!)

 
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Boot Campers – YOU DID IT. You made it to the end! And what does that mean? It means – it’s time to celebrate your success! Even small successes get celebrated today :-).

Sweet and awesome Vikki, your resident boot camp encourager, is back today, and she’s bringing us one last boot camp article. Let the celebration begin!

Celebrating A Successful Sleep Training Boot Camp

The Meldrums 2013_4-29My fellow sleep warriors, YOU DID IT. You made it through Sleep Training Boot Camp! Go you! Whether your baby is sleeping through the night like an angel, you just started your sleep training journey, or you’re somewhere in between, CONGRATULATIONS. Every sleep success, no matter how small, is cause for celebration!

Sometimes the hardest part of training is getting started. Even though we struggled with Lyla’s sleep for many months, I just kept hoping it would get better. I had gotten used to our nightly battles and just thought this is what life was like with a struggled sleeper. I wanted a more peaceful situation for Lyla. I wanted to feel rested so I could be a more patient mom. I wanted a happier, less tired household, but I didn’t know if or how any of it was possible. Deciding to try sleep training made it happen. So if you’re just starting out, look for small victories. Did you shave off even a few minutes from bedtime? SUCCESS! Has baby been more open to a change in routine that will lead to better sleep? TRIUMPH! Did baby nap for even five minutes longer than the day before? YOU DID THAT!

It can be so hard to stay consistent during sleep training, but hopefully Sleep Training Boot Camp helped keep you on the road to sleep street! There were so many times while training Lyla I wanted to just give up. Some nights it seemed like it didn’t matter what I did, the kid was not going to sleep. But I found inspiration in the fact that not knowing how to sleep is temporary and teaching her the tools to hang out in happy snoozeland would last her a lifetime. Did you push through when you wanted to give up? GO YOU!

The Meldrums 2013_4-13Did you attack naps during Sleep Training Boot Camp? HECK YES! Naps can be a constant source of stress, especially if baby refuses them. Remember, your baby or toddler needs that sleep, and you need that time in the day to recharge your batteries. Working towards better naps skills with your child is a win, even if it’s just adding a few minutes to sleepy time. There is happy on the other side of that successful nap – AND YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!

If sleep setbacks, like teething or sleep regressions, got the best of you, no worries! The tools are still here for you. Whether your baby is a good sleeper that just needs some fine-tuning, or is a chronically awake human like my little Lyla bean, there will be setbacks. But remember: SETBACKS DON’T MEAN FAILURE. Even after you’ve found the sleep training approach that works for you and baby, stuff comes up. YOU CAN AND WILL GET AND KEEP YOUR BABY SLEEPING PEACEFULLY. You can do it!

My fellow sleep conquerors, we came into this Boot Camp searching for a solution. Needing a break. Wanting desperately for our babies to find peaceful, happy slumber. Whether you just took the first step or have worked through a Personalized Sleep Plan™ and are watching baby drool happily in dreamland right now, YOU DID IT! You made progress in helping baby learn to sleep! Remember: no matter where you are in the sleep training journey, keep going. Your baby or toddler will get there, and you’ll be right beside him or her every step of the way.

Congratulations on a successful Sleep Training Boot Camp!!!

Not Quite Where You Want To Be, Sleep-Wise? We Can Help!

I feel like we can’t emphasize this enough: ANY success is worth celebrating, when it comes to sleep training. But even if you’ve had small successes, you may still not be quite where you want to be, sleep-wise. That’s okay – there is plenty of time to keep working on sleep. And don’t forget that we’re here to help you! For TODAY ONLY, you can grab any of our sleep consultation packages, or any of our e-Book titles, at a 15% discount! These boot camp essentials are the tools you need to help get you where you want to be, and to end your journey to better sleep.

Grab a consultation package or e-Book at 15% off – SALE ENDS TUESDAY!

So remember, boot campers – as we say goodbye to Sleep Training Boot Camp, celebrate your successes, even if they’re small. And if you aren’t quite where you want to be, don’t worry! We can help!

What are your sleep training successes? Share them – we want to celebrate with you! Have questions about sleep challenges that remain? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
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<--Boot Camp Part Six: Handling Sleep Setbacks

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (Plus An Optional Bonus Step!)

 
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New to Sleep Training Bootcamp? Check out our overview page to find out what Sleep Training Boot Camp is all about, and to catch up on past Boot Camp articles.

BOOT CAMP, PART TWO: Making Feeding and Schedule Changes (Plus an Optional Bonus Step)

 
How Small Changes Can Make A Big Sleep Difference

A few days ago, we talked about how important it is to prepare before sleep training. Today’s boot camp article offers another preparation tip – now that you have (hopefully!) done the 5 things you need to do before sleep training, the next step is to take a long, hard look at your baby or toddler’s current feeding and sleep schedule.

Why? Simple – because in our years of working with families, we have found that sometimes, making adjustments to feeding, and to the sleep schedule, makes a big impact on sleep. In fact, some parents have discovered that simply adding in one or two extra daytime feedings, or shifting the timing of naps, eliminates their need to sleep train at all!

We’re not promising that will be true for you, of course, but at the very least, if you have a schedule issue or feeding problem, making the change now will allow a few days for your baby or toddler to adjust before you start sleep coaching, which is a good thing.

So, let’s take these two things separately…

FEEDING

Take a good look at how much your baby or toddler is eating, and then compare that to the recommended averages found on our baby feeding chart. If your little one isn’t taking in enough breastmilk, formula, and/or solid food, then up the amounts.

Also, think about when your baby or toddler is eating. Is there a loooooong stretch between your toddler’s last meal of the day and bedtime? Maybe offer a bedtime snack. Or try cluster-feeding your baby close to bedtime – offer a series of shorter, smaller feeds before bed. Has your baby gotten into a pattern of eating frequently at night and not much during the day? See if you can begin to gradually shift some of those feeds to daylight hours.

SLEEP SCHEDULE

The timing of your child’s naps is what matters here, as well as the morning wake time and bed time. Remember, bedtime shouldn’t be too late, as that can make sleep problems even worse. See our (printable!) baby and toddler bedtime by age chart for help with this. Keep an eye on morning wake time, too – as best you can, try not to get your baby up for the day before about 6 or maybe 6:30 a.m.

Naps are key, too – particularly naps that happen late in the day. If your baby’s last “nap” of the day isn’t over until 6:30 p.m., that’s a problem! It’s going to push bedtime way too late. Watch the length of your baby or toddler’s naps, too – while the last nap of the day can be a short, 30 minute catnap at certain stages (and when you’re nearing a nap transition), a truly restorative nap should be about an hour or longer. (Of course, if short and inconsistent naps are part of the reason why you’re sleep coaching, then don’t stress over this too much; make whatever small changes you can, but know that we’ll get into real nap training in another week or so).

Work on making small changes to the feeding and sleep schedule now, and over the weekend. That will set you up for Boot Camp Part #3, when we’ll make (and implement!) our sleep coaching plans. As you work on this step, some resources that will no doubt really help you are our sample sleep and feeding schedules by age. Use the sample schedule for your child’s age as a template.

bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftOr, even better, consider picking up a copy of Mastering Naps and Schedules – it has over 45 sample schedules by age, so you will have plenty of scheduling resources to draw from. And don’t forget that right now, Mastering Naps & Schedules is 15% off – so grab a discounted copy today, and get to work on making those feeding and scheduling changes this weekend!
 
 
Of course, at any point, if you feel like you need additional help with anything here (whether that’s the kind of additional do-it-yourself resources you’ll find in our e-Books, or personalized help that comes with a one-on-one sleep consultation), you can visit our Boot Camp Essentials page and grab your boot camp essentials at a 15% discount. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone – we are here to help you conquer sleep training boot camp!

BONUS PART 2: Fill out the Family History Form

You don’t necessarily have to do this part, if you don’t have time, but we think it’ll be really helpful in planning for sleep coaching.

Now, I know what you may be thinking – “What on earth is a Family History Form??” Great question! ;) The Family History Form is a form that we ask all our consultation clients to fill out prior to starting their consultations. It allows us to get all the background information before our consultants create the Personalized Sleep Plans™ for each family.

BUT, filling out the Family History Form isn’t just for our consultation clients – it’s an exercise that can benefit ANY family who’s struggling with sleep. We have heard from lots of readers over the years who have told us that filling out the form helped them so much in the sleep coaching process.

Why? Because the form helps you:

  • …identify your baby or toddler’s specific sleep associations.
  • …summarize the history of your baby or toddler’s sleep issues (when they started, how long they have lasted, if/when they got worse, etc.)
  • …outline what sleep training (if any) you have tried already. It’s key to use your past sleep training experience when creating your sleep training plan (more on that soon), so this step of the form is a vital one.
  • …summarize your child’s current sleep and feeding schedule.
  • …identify your child’s feeding habits and schedule considerations.
  • …pin down your baby or toddler’s temperament.
  • …summarize your own parenting philosophy (which will have a big impact on the kind of sleep coaching methods you include in your sleep plan).
  • …identify your sleep coaching expectations.

Many parents have told us that filling out the form is therapeutic. Some have even told us that, by filling out the form, they were able to clearly see and understand their sleep situation for the first time – there’s just something about putting the facts (and your feelings!) down on paper.

Here’s what Vikki, your “boot camp encourager”, had to say about what filling out the Family History Form was like for her:

BSS Headshot 2“Filling out the form put a voice to our problems. I made lots of notes on Lyla’s sleep and issues around sleep on my own, but filling out the form made it a narrative. It gave me a comprehensive story to look at and problem solve. It also forced me to think through things that I thought were little or insignificant and how they might be impacting Lyla’s ability to self sooth and learn to sleep on her own. It was an excellent exercise and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with sleep issues with their little one.”

And here’s something else to consider – even if you don’t plan to do a personalized consultation with a Baby Sleep Site consultant now, if you change your mind in the next few weeks, you’ll have your Family History Form all filled out and ready to go. Win! :)

So, if you have time this weekend, after working on implementing feeding and schedule changes – sit down and take a little time to fill out the Family History Form. Then, save it – you’ll need the info in it to tackle boot camp part #3!

Download a PDF copy of the Family History Form HERE. Or, click this link to automatically download a Word version of the form – great if you want to type your info right into the field provided.

Don’t forget that, while you can definitely tackle sleep training boot camp all by yourself, you don’t have to. If you’d like your own personal (but friendly!) drill sergeant, to guide you through this process, we can help with that! We also have a variety of e-Books designed to give you even more resources to help you along in your boot camp journey. And the best part – our e-Books and our consultations are currently 15% off!! So be sure to stop by and pick up your boot camp essentials today.

LOTS to do this weekend! Have any feeding or schedule questions? Ask away, and we’ll answer! Have tips for our readers about feeding and schedule changes, or about the Family History Form? Share them – we love hearing from you!

 
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<--Boot Camp Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train

Boot Camp Part Three: Creating & Implementing Your Sleep Training Plan –>

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Sleep Training Boot Camp, Part One: 5 Things To Do Before You Sleep Train

 
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It’s time to buckle down, put in the hard work, and conquer sleep challenges once and for all.

It’s time for sleep training boot camp!

That’s right, parents – June is Sleep Training Boot Camp here at The Baby Sleep Site®. All month long, we will be coaching you along on Facebook and Twitter, sharing sleep tips, posting inspirational messages, and encouraging you to share your progress (because who knows – parents who share their progress might just be rewarded!! ;)). And here on the blog, we will be walking you through the sleep coaching process, step by step, and offering up the information you need to be successful with sleep coaching.

Vikki MeldrumThroughout this series, we’ll be hearing from Vikki Meldrum. Vikki is a mom who, just like you, came to The Baby Sleep Site® for help with her sweet little daughter Lyla’s sleep challenges. With the help of her sleep consultant, Jen, Vikki was able to solve her daughter’s sleep problems and is now enjoying peaceful nights! Vikki will be chiming in to offer you insights and encouragement as you go through boot camp. After all, she knows what sleep training is like – she’s been there! So think of Vikki as your boot camp buddy – she’s here to cheer you on, and to help you be as successful as possible!

Finally, be sure to visit us all month long on Facebook and Twitter, as we share motivational quotes and helpful hints. And we’ll want to hear from you, too – keep us posted on your progress at #sleepbootcamp, and be automatically entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! We’ll be handing out these gift cards at random to moms who post updates and ask questions – think of them as motivation to stick with it and keep going! ;)

So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to make meaningful changes to your baby or toddler’s sleep – let’s get started!
 
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BOOT CAMP, PART ONE: 5 Things To Do BEFORE You Sleep Train

As eager as some of you may be to get started with sleep training, remember: it’s important to plan first. You won’t make it far without a plan! So, as a first step in planning, we are looking at Instead, we’re going to focus on 5 things parents should do BEFORE they start sleep training. We believe strongly that having a plan can take you far on the road to success; with that in mind, let’s talk over 5 steps to take before you start sleep training.

  1. Catch up on sleep (this means everyone!)

    You’ve heard the expression “things will get worse before they get better”, right? Well, that applies to sleep training in a big, big way. When you start sleep training, expect for everyone to lose some sleep before things start to improve. Remember, your child is learning a new skill here — sleep probably won’t come easily right from the beginning! For this reason, it’s critical that mom, dad, and baby be well-rested before starting this process.

  2. Start a sleep log.

    You may think you know your baby or toddler’s sleep habits, but try keeping a log, and it might surprise you to see patterns that you didn’t know existed. Logging sleep is also a great way to pinpoint exactly what your child’s “real” schedule is (as opposed to the schedule you’re trying to implement!). We recommend you keep logging sleep all the way through the sleep coaching process, too – it’ll help you keep an accurate record, and it’ll highlight where your little one has made progress. You can read more about how to log sleep in this article about how to keep a baby or toddler sleep log.

  3. Develop bedtime and naptime routines.

    Consistency is one of the most important parts of any sleep training plan — the faster your baby learns that the same things will keep happening at the same times, the faster he’ll learn how to break his sleep associations and start sleeping through the night. And routines go a long way towards building consistency.

    Start developing small, simple patterns before naps and bed — this could include reading a few books, rocking and singing a song, having a bath, etc. Start on these bedtime routines and naptime routines before you begin sleep training; that way, your baby will already be familiar with them before you actually start the sleep training process.

  4. Make sure your child has a clean bill of health

    If you know your baby is perfectly healthy, no reason to make a trip to the doc. But if your little one is under the weather, or especially if you suspect that your chid’s sleeplessness may be the result of a medical problem, consider making a quick trip the doc, just to be on the safe side.

  5. Clear your calendar.

    When you start sleep training, you’ll want things to be as normal as possible around your house for at least a few weeks. Consistency is a huge part of sleep training, which is why we don’t recommend that people start sleep training right before a move, before a vacation, before a major surgery, etc. What’s more, if you’re an “on the go” parent, you may need to cancel some of your plans. You’ll probably need to spend your days and nights at home for a few weeks — no all-day errands, no late-night excursions. You want baby to have plenty of time to practice sleeping in crib or bassinette, and plenty of opportunities to adjust to the new schedule and routine.

    To put your full sleep training plan into effect, you’ll need at least 3-4 weeks of normalcy. But don’t worry – if you only have 1 or 2 normal weeks available right now, you can start ‘Phase 1′ of coaching, which might mean you work on a few of your smaller sleep training goals.

All this planning ahead may seem like a lot of work, but remember – good prep work is key to success. Here’s what Vikki had to tell me about the prep work she did before sleep coaching Lyla:

“I actually did a lot of prep before we started Lyla’s sleeping training. I read my plan a few times and made notes on how I could apply it to our efforts with Lyla. I also tried to pick good timing to start when we didn’t have a lot of plans or I could easily opt out of an event in case we were tired or needed to focus on training (so we didn’t skip a nap or change the time we put her down). I also wanted to be mentally prepared. I knew we were about to go on a journey and I wanted to make sure I was ready to start and keep going every day.”

Wise words from a wise mom! So, Boot Camp Part #1 – make sure you’ve covered the 5 bases listed above, and you’ll be ready to tackle the next step (which we’ll share on Friday – stay tuned!)

And remember – as we embark on this month of boot camp, you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t. If you prefer to sleep train yourself, we have a ton of resources packed full of info that will help you along the way (including our e-books, which are currently on sale!) But if you think you might need help, we can provide that, too – our sleep consultants are the boot camp instructors you need to get the results you deserve. Why not consider purchasing a sleep consultation package (also on sale!) and do boot camp alongside a trained, expert sleep consultant?

What are you going to do before you start sleep training boot camp? Share your plans with us! Have sleep training questions? Ask, and we’ll answer!

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Boot Camp, Part Two: Making Feeding & Schedule Changes (And An Optional Bonus Step!) –>

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10 Things Nicole Wants You To Know About Sleep Training

 
10 Things To Know About Sleep Training

Recently, I took some time to talk with Nicole about all the things she’s learned during her years as a sleep consultant, and during the course of the conversation, I asked her, “What do you wish all of our readers knew about sleep coaching?” The result? Today’s article – a list of 10 things Nicole wants you to know about sleep coaching. Read on, and hear from Nicole herself!

10 Things Nicole Wants You To Know About Sleep Training

  1. Baby and toddler sleep problems do not discriminate.
  2. Nicole: I have worked with literally thousands of families from all over the world, and I can safely say that baby sleep problems do not discriminate. Baby and toddler sleep problems cross cultural, racial, geographical, and socioeconomic borders. While this might sound a bit depressing to some of our exhausted readers, I find it comforting! It allows me to reassure my clients that they are not alone in their struggles with sleep, and that there are many, MANY parents around the world facing exactly what they’re facing.

  3. Plenty (maybe the majority) of babies do not naturally “outgrow” their sleep challenges
  4. Nicole: A common misconception that I think exists among parents is that ALL babies will outgrow their bad sleep habits and eventually “figure out” sleep on their own, without any help. Now, there is some truth to this idea – eventually, all children do figure out how to handle night wakings without a parent’s help (I don’t know too many 18 year olds who are still trying to crawl into their parents’ bed during night wakings, LOL!!). But “eventually” may be YEARS down the road. I know families whose elementary-aged children still wake a lot at night, and need a parent to come and comfort them back to sleep, or who need to crawl into parents’ bed most nights each week, in order to fall back to sleep.

    What I always remind my clients of is the fact that while it’s true that some babies and toddlers do “figure out” sleep on their own, in a reasonable amount of time, without sleep training, that is in no way the norm for all kids. In my opinion, it’s unreasonable to expect all babies and toddlers to figure out sleep on their own. That kind of blanket assumption doesn’t account for all the unique factors that are involved in a child’s sleeping habits – factors like temperament, family living situations, parent philosophy, health challenges, etc. Once the 4 month sleep regression hits, and a baby’s sleeping patterns change permanently, PLENTY of those babies need at least a bit of help from a parent to learn a new way to sleep.

  5. In sleep training, the first step is often the hardest to take, for parents.
  6. Nicole: There’s no doubt about it – sleep coaching is work. I am always very clear about that with my clients. But generally, I’ve found that the toughest part of the whole process, for many families, is getting started. Taking that first step often feels daunting and scary for parents, and there have been times when, after receiving their Personalized Sleep Plans™, some clients put off starting for weeks, simply because they’re too nervous to begin! However, what I generally find is that once a parent has started sleep coaching, and especially once they see the first signs of initial progress, they start to gain momentum and confidence, and while the rest of the process may not be easy, they feel good about continuing to do the work, and they don’t feel nearly as anxious as they did at the start.

  7. Speaking of parents – sometimes, it’s the parents who need some “training” before their babies or toddlers can be sleep trained!
  8. Nicole: I often ask parents to think about sleep training as training for both their child AND for them. Often, it’s not just a baby or toddler’s sleep habits and sleep associations that need to be changed – it’s the parents’ habits and associations, too! Here’s what I mean by that: by the time a parent approaches us for help, she has likely been struggling with her baby’s sleep for months. Over those months, her baby has “trained” her, in a way – maybe she’s been “trained” to rock the baby to sleep, or to get up and replace the pacifier every time baby cries. Maybe she’s tried different sleep coaching methods with no success, so she’s been “trained” to know that these methods won’t work. Well, part of our sleep coaching process here at The Baby Sleep Site® is to help both the baby or toddler AND the parents to learn new habits, patterns, and routines when it comes to sleep. In fact, sometimes, I’ve found that it’s mom or dad who needs the most training – once I am able to reset the parents’ expectations and habits surrounding their child’s sleep, their baby or toddler quickly learns how to sleep through the night and to nap better! That’s not always the case, of course, but in some situations, all that stands between a baby or toddler and a good night’s sleep is mom or dad.

  9. Often, babies and toddlers are capable of more than their parents think they are.
  10. Nicole: In some ways, this fits with that last point. I’ve learned over the years that as parents, many of us (myself included) tend to assume that our children are capable of less than they actually are. This is understandable; I think it’s part of our parental desires to protect and nurture our children. But when it comes to sleep, it’s key to remember that your child is probably capable of more than you think she is. I’ve had so many parents tell me that once they “got out of the way”, so to speak, their babies and toddlers quickly figured out new sleeping habits and routines.

  11. While sleep habits become pretty entrenched by 12 months of age, it is definitely possible to sleep coach toddlers – you just have to be creative (and very, very patient!).
  12. Nicole: I’ve worked with a lot of toddlers through the years, and usually, their parents tell me that they wish they had worked on sleep coaching earlier, and not waited until their child was 2 or 3 (or even 4!) before starting. But I always remind these parents that it’s never too late to learn new sleep habits. It’s true that toddlers can be bit more stubborn about their sleep than babies generally are, but that’s okay – it just means that parents need to be consistent and persistent in their sleep coaching. It also means that, as a sleep coaching team (parents and I), have to be creative with our sleep coaching methods. The methods that I use with babies usually aren’t a great fit for toddlers; that’s why I’ve developed my own sleep coaching strategy for toddlers. I’ve found that when parents combine the right, toddler-specific sleep coaching strategy with plenty of patience and consistency, results follow.

  13. Baby and toddler sleep problems are relative.
  14. Nicole: Oh, man, is this ever true! One mom’s “problem sleeper” is another mom’s “dream sleeper”! I think that perspective, as it does in so many areas of our lives, plays a huge role in baby and toddler sleep. Cultural differences regarding sleep also come into play here – while a Western family might consider a 3-year old who still woke multiple times per night and nursed back to sleep to be a huge problem, that scenario is considered perfectly reasonable and normal in other cultures around the world. But remember, don’t let the fact that other parents’ sleep problems may be bigger than yours make you feel like yours are insignificant. They’re not! If your sleep challenges are a big deal for your family, then they’re a big deal for us, too, and we’ll work to solve them. After all, effects of sleep deprivation affect us all differently, too.

  15. Most baby and toddler sleep problems can’t be solved overnight.
  16. Nicole: Having reasonable expectations about sleep coaching is key, and it’s one reason why I ask clients to explain their expectations BEFORE we start the sleep coaching process. While some of our clients do have overnight success, those families are definitely the exception. It takes most families at least a few days to start seeing progress, and 1-2 weeks before they start seeing consistent change in their babies’ or toddlers’ sleep habits. I always advise parents to focus on incremental progress, instead of becoming too focused on the big, lofty end goals (like sleeping 12 straight hours at night, or something like that). This is one reason why we always break sleep coaching down into a series of small steps – doing that helps parents focus on small goals, which ultimately lead to the bigger goals. It also prevents parents and children from burning out quickly.

  17. Even the best sleepers will have “off” days once sleep coaching is done, but this does not mean that sleep coaching has failed.
  18. Nicole: Speaking of reasonable expectations, this is an unrealistic expectation that I encounter from time to time. Some parents are under the impression that once they sleep train successfully, their child will never wake at night again, or have a bad nap, or regress in any way. While that would certainly be nice, it’s a fantasy. ;) In reality, even the best sleepers have off days now and then, and even if you have sleep coached successfully, your baby or toddler will still get sick, get new teeth, go through growth spurts, have sleep regressions – and all of those will impact sleep. What I urge parents to remember is that, first, a child who has been through sleep coaching will likely have less disruption to sleep during those times, and second, a family who has been through sleep coaching has the tools to handle those kinds of challenges without creating new sleep associations, and to get back on routine quickly.

  19. Successful sleep coaching requires a ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’ mentality.
  20. Nicole: I think a lot of parents get this, but I still find myself explaining it from time to time. Some parents have a tough time breaking out of their current sleep routines – for instance, if they have been nursing to sleep, or co-sleeping out of necessity, it can feel tough to stop doing those things, even if parents want to. That’s because sleep associations (nursing or rocking to sleep, for instance) provide a “quick fix” for a sleepless baby or toddler. Sure, it’s not perfect, but at least it provides some sleep in the short-term. Same with unwanted co-sleeping – its’ not ideal, but at least it lets everyone get some sleep.

    But the thing to remember is that while sleep coaching can create some “short-term pain”, the long-term gains are big. Yes, correcting your baby or toddler’s sleep associations will make for some exhausting nights and days at first, but the long-term gain is a child who sleeps through the night and naps well. And just about every family I have ever worked with has found that’s a long-term gain that’s worth the work!

Ready To Tackle Sleep Training? We Can Help!

All this talk about sleep training may have some of you feeling ready to get started – and if so, remember that our team of consultants is here to help! If you are ready to work on your little one’s sleep, and to get a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that will work for your family, the first step is to browse our extensive list of package options and select the one that looks best for your situation.
 
Browse our list of consultation package options here.
 

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have your own sleep coaching observations to share? Chime in, and share them in the comments section! Have a question about sleep coaching? Ask away, and we’ll answer!

  • Want to tackle sleep training on your own? Why not take a look at our 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep? Available in three affordable packages, this book is designed to give you practical, hands-on tools you can use to help your baby learn to fall asleep on his own, and stay asleep (and stop fighting bedtime!). For toddlers, try The 5-Step System To Better Toddler Sleep. Struggling with napping issues? Check out Mastering Naps & Schedules, with over 45 sample schedules included. Best of all, all three books are available to download instantly – you can put them to use as early as tonight!
  • Want an abundance of resources to help you in your sleep coaching? Consider becoming a Baby Sleep Site Member. Our Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice! And the icing on the cake? Members enjoy 20% off all sleep consultation services. That savings alone can pay for the cost of membership!
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From Waking Every 2 Hours to Sleeping Through The Night! Hear Gerry’s Story.

You might remember that at the end of last year, we featured some very special content here on The Baby Sleep Site® blog. We featured three real families, just like yours – families who spent months struggling with sleepless babies and toddlers. They are families who approached The Baby Sleep Site® for personalized baby sleep help, and who worked one-on-one with our team of consultants. And now, Julie, Ali, and Ilana (and their families) are sleeping peacefully!

Gerry&Yvette300x300Well, to say the response was overwhelmingly positive would be putting it mildly. ;) Many of our readers let us know that they loved hearing stories about real families solving their sleep problems. And so, in the spirit of giving our readers what they want — the Family Features are back!

Today, we are presenting a truly wonderful story. And it comes to us all the way from Bulgaria (because baby sleep problems do not discriminate)! Meet Gerry and her adorable little girl, Yvette. (Seriously, look at that little face – so sweet!) Gerry came to The Baby Sleep Site® for help when Yvette was 10 months old. At that time, Yvette was still breastfeeding every 2 hours, round the clock – and Gerry was understandably exhausted! But, with the help of Nicole and Shaye, Gerry was able to improve Yvette’s sleep while maintaining her breastfeeding goals. It was a big win for everyone!

Here’s Gerry’s story…

 
The Baby Sleep Site: Hi, Gerry! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your situation when you first approached us for baby sleep help.

Gerry: “Before I got help from The Baby Sleep Site, my daughter was 10 months old and was still breastfeeding every 2 hours, day and night. She was also waking every 40-90 minutes throughout the night, like an atomic clock! Back then, there were many days when she wouldn’t nap at all, or would just take two or three 15-minute naps for the entire day. And even then, she would nap only in my arms or while resting in the sling. Back then, I would put her to sleep often after 10 p.m., and she would fall asleep only while breastfeeding or being rocked for an hour. As a result of all this, I had a breakdown. I was so exhausted.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Gerry. :( I’m so sorry you went through this! No wonder you fell apart; 10 months without a full night’s sleep will break anyone! You must have felt like you were at your wit’s end – and like you were so alone.

Gerry: “I did. Many people said, ‘This too shall pass’, and that I just had to ride it out and wait until Yvette’s second birthday when all babies finally start sleeping well. We even took our daughter to three different doctors, and after all the blood tests and examinations, they just shrugged their shoulders and told me that there was no physical reason why she should be waking so often and sleeping so little. In fact, one doctor actually suggested that we treat Yvette with a medicine with sedating effect in order to achieve better sleep, even though he agreed that she was perfectly healthy. Some people, including this doctor, blamed my breast milk for Yvette’s sleeplessness. But I didn’t want to medicate my baby, and I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding.”

The Baby Sleep Site: WOW. This probably made you feel even worse, right? Not only are you hearing from three different medical professionals that there’s no reason for your daughter’s sleeplessness, you are also being made to feel like her constant waking might actually be your fault!

Gerry: “Yes! As a final resort, I turned to Google, and asked, ‘What to do when a baby wakes every 40 minutes at night?’ That’s how I landed on the Baby Sleep Site. After reading a few blog posts, I purchased a Personalized Sleep Plan™.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! I’ll bet you were excited to finally take steps towards solving Yvette’s sleep problems once and for all. :) Tell us a little bit about how your consultation started, Gerry.

Gerry: “I received my plan, and I was so happy to see that the strategies Shaye laid out to solve my daughter’s sleep problems were simple and divided into ‘baby steps’. I especially loved the ‘Day By Day’ section! It was also great that Shaye explained the reasoning behind each method. And I really loved that The Baby Sleep Site does treat every family according to their specific situation and needs.”

The Baby Sleep Site: Yes! We are so committed to that idea, that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all sleep training. Okay, now because I know our readers will be curious, I need to ask – how did things go once you started implementing the plan?

Gerry: “With Shaye’s help, our beloved baby finally understood that sleeping actually feels good – and now she wakes up happy! Within a few weeks,Yvette decreased the night wakings from around ten per night to less thanYvette300x350 three. Her naps lengthened, and for the first time, she napped for more than 35-40 minutes. And through it all, I kept on breastfeeding – something Shaye encouraged me to continue doing! As a result of getting the sleep she needed, Yvette became a much happier baby, and I finally felt myself coming back to my senses. This may sound extreme, but I really feel that Shaye’s understanding, and the Personalized Sleep Plan she prepared for us, saved our lives.”

The Baby Sleep Site: We get it – getting that plan in your e-mail inbox really does feel like you are being thrown a life line, doesn’t it? Gerry, we couldn’t be happier for you. It sounds like you and Yvette are finally (finally!) getting the sleep you need. And because of that, your quality of life sounds much better!

Gerry: “That’s right. Yvette is 18 months now, and thanks to Shaye and Nicole’s priceless help, she has established healthy sleep habits and we all cherish the moments before bedtime and naptime. The team at The Baby Sleep Site gave us a real miracle!”

The Baby Sleep Site: Honestly, stories like yours make the hard work worth it! Okay, Gerry, before we wrap up this interview – any last words for our readers?

Gerry: “I can’t end without saying one more thank you! Thank you again, Shaye and Nicole, for your knowledge, support, and understanding! We all learned to sleep better at home thanks to your guidance. Keep on doing miracles for all the tired families in need!””

 
There you have it, readers. Even if your 10 month old baby is waking every 2 hour around the clock, and nursing for less than 30 minutes at a time, even if your baby is has to be fed and held and rocked to sleep all the time – you can solve your little one’s sleep problems! Gerry was facing some big sleep challenges, but with the help of The Baby Sleep Site (and through lots of hard work on her part), Gerry helped Yvette overcome her sleep associations and learn to fall sleep on her own.

And you can do the same. Really! In fact, our trained sleep consultants are ready and waiting to help you do just that. So why not take the first step today, and begin your journey to better sleep as early as tonight?

Click here to learn how you can get one-on-one help from a trained sleep consultant like Shaye.

Want to know more about how our system of personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have sleep training questions of your own? Ask away!

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Your Holiday Sleep Training Checklist

Holiday Sleep Training ChecklistHoliday break is upon us, readers! That is, it’s upon those of us who actually get some vacation time around Christmas. (And I sincerely hope that most of you do!)

If the holidays mean some extra time off for you — AND if you happen to have a sleepless baby or toddler at home — your break may present a great time to work on sleep.

That’s exactly why we’ve created this checklist for you. Here are 5 suggestions as to what you can be working on, sleep-wise, over your holiday vacation.

Your 5-Point Sleep Training Checklist

  1. Work on improving your bedtime routine (if it needs work). To be effective, bedtime routines should be fairly short (~10-15 minutes, longer for spirited children), and should consist of a few quiet, relaxing activities that signal to your baby or toddler that sleep is right around the corner. Your bedtime routine should also happen at about the same time each night.
  2. Work on reducing (or eliminating) night wakings. The age for babies to sleep 8-10 straight hours per night varies greatly. However, expect many babies to be sleeping through the night without feedings by about 9 or 10 months, and most babies by 12 months. By 6 months, your baby should be once or twice per night, and by 8 months, your baby should be feeding just once per night, on average.
  3. Work on getting into a consistent nap and feeding schedule during the day. Consistency is key in creating healthy sleep habits, so work towards a schedule in which meals and naps are happening at roughly the same time each day. You’ll need at least a few days at home to practice this – and holiday break presents a nice opportunity to do just that! :)
  4. Work on shifting your child’s schedule (if it’s out of sync). If your baby or toddler is waking too early, or going to bed too late, or is perhaps napping too much and not sleeping well at night — these are all problems that can be fixed. Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle shift to the schedule (shortening naps, moving bedtime up by 30 minutes, etc.) to correct an out-of-whack schedule.
  5. Work on making sure your baby or toddler is getting enough sleep (if you suspect he isn’t getting enough). Not sure if your baby or toddler is getting enough sleep? You can keep a sleep log for a few weeks, to determine what your little one’s average sleep total is. Then, compare that to the recommended averages. 4 month old babies need anywhere between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per day. From 6 – 12 months, those sleep averages drop to between 12 and 15 hours per day. By the time your little one is a toddler, she’ll need anywhere from 11 – 15 hours of sleep per day.

Will you be working on sleep over the holidays? Tell us your plan!

Are sleepless nights and interrupted naps the unwelcome guests in your home this holiday season? Let us help you make it a merrier Christmas and a happier New Year!

  • Need more sleep training resources? We have a ton! Browse our list of e-books and e-book packages, designed to help your baby, toddler, or newborn develop better sleeping habits. We even have a book that’s designed just for parents who want to work on naps! These are perfect solutions for parents who want to sleep train on their own, but need more information.
  • Want Unlimited Access to ALL Our Products? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And as a member, you have access to a once-a-week chat with one of our expert sleep consultants – ideal for those times when you need some expert advice!.
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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Get To Know The Families Behind Some Of 2013s Most Amazing Sleep Success Stories!

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Over the past few weeks, we have shone a spotlight on a few of our very own Baby Sleep Site families. These are families just like yours – families who spent months struggling with sleepless babies and toddlers. They are families who approached The Baby Sleep Site for personalized baby sleep help, and who worked one-on-one with our team of consultants. And now, they are families that are sleeping peacefully!

Meet Ilana Collison, and Hear Her Story

Readers, meet Ilana Collison. Ilana lives in North Dakota, but when she originally came to us for help, she had just moved to the U.S., from the U.K. And as if an international move weren’t stressful enough – she did it with a baby who just refused to sleep!

Once Ilana and her family were settled in the States, she contacted us for help with her son Tyler’s sleep. Here’s her story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Ilana, tell us a little bit about Tyler’s sleep history.

Ilana: Tyler was one of those babies who just resisted sleep. It was a bit of aIlana Collison4 joke amongst some of my mummy friends, how Tyler was such a poor sleeper. I often heard, “And I thought mine was bad! I can’t believe he’s been up all day and won’t sleep”. Yep, believe it! And he wouldn’t sleep at night time either. When he did, he woke up multiple times.

Now, before Tyler was born, I had accepted that my own hours of sleep were going to be few and far between. I knew that having a newborn, and then moving to a new country when he was just 3 months old, was going to be challenging. I just wasn’t prepared for the toll that it really took.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s understandable – there’s probably no good way to adequately prepare for something like that! So once you were settled in the U.S., what happened?

Ilana: Once we got settled into our new house, Tyler was 6 months old, and we were ready to have him sleep in his crib, in his own room. Apparently, however, he wasn’t! At that point, I began scouring the internet for information.

At first, I didn’t find anything helpful. Yes, I had a bedtime routine. Yes, we were consistent, but things were just getting worse and worse, and I really felt like Tyler was suffering. I believe that sleep is so important for a baby’s development, and Tyler wasn’t getting anywhere near what he needed. He was grumpy, and his happy mood started to change for the worse.

I can’t convey how bad things had become, surviving on so little sleep for such a long time. And Tyler himself had become so challenging. I loved my son, but things were dismal. My relationship with my husband had become strained, too. One day, I just cried, and cried, and cried. It just all got to be too much.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Ilana – that must’ve been so hard. We know lots of parents who’ve been in that same position – all the exhaustion and sleep deprivation catches up to them, and they finally break down. What did you do then?

Ilana: Ilana Collison3At that point, I had already come across The Baby Sleep Site. So, I waited for my husband to get home from work, and then I literally begged him to sign us up for a Baby Sleep Site consultation package. I was of course skeptical to be parting with money for advice online, but with SO many positive testimonials, I figured it surely had to work. Not only that, but I sensed a real empathy and compassion from reading Nicole’s weekly newsletter, and I just felt that this was going to work for us. And I knew that I had it in me to stick to a schedule. I just needed some pointers and support.

The Baby Sleep Site: So after you purchased your package – what happened then?

Ilana: I wrote up our family history, for Amber (my sleep consultant) to use. Even just writing out the sleep history helped me feel better – it’s like I was emptying my mind of all the issues and putting them into e-mail form. From that moment, I started to feel like there was hope. And then there was – an e-mail from Amber, with our family’s Personalized Sleep Plan™ attached! It was like a ray of light!

The Baby Sleep Site: And what did you think, reading through the plan?

Ilana: The sleep schedule was detailed, and it provided insight and options, as well as room for tweaking to suit our needs as well as Tyler’s. Amber even preempted what Tyler may do in response to the plan. That surprised me – I knew what he would do, but how did she? How could someone who had never met my son know him so well? I honestly couldn’t read the Personalized Sleep Plan™ fast enough! Not only was it informative and clear, but it was positive and encouraging – all the things I knew I needed to get started.

The Baby Sleep Site: Okay, Illana, this is the all-important question: once you started implementing the plan, did it work?

Ilana: Tyler responded to the new routine really well! Within about 4 days of putting the plan into action at home, we saw a significant change. My baby was actually taking naps during the day and sleeping better at night! No, it wasn’t perfect right away. But he did pick up his new routine so quickly.

Ilana Collison copySoon after that, Tyler slept through the night for the first time. I remember lying awake at 4 a.m., wondering if he was okay, and if the baby monitor was working! But of course, nothing was wrong; he was just fast asleep, and enjoying his crib! Now, Tyler doesn’t sleep through the night perfectly every night, but in the main, he does. And now, if he does wake up, we know exactly what to do, and so does he! Now that Tyler is finally getting the sleep he needs, my husband and I are, too. Now, everything about our family is different, and I am starting to feel like my old self.

I should say that I don’t for a minute think our help here is done! We just weren’t blessed that way, with an ‘easy’ baby. This is merely ‘au revoir’ for now, as we shall no doubt be in contact with you again soon (but hopefully not too soon!)

The Baby Sleep Site: We’ll keep an eye out for your e-mail, Ilana! ;) Before we wrap things up – any final words you want to offer our readers?

Ilana: I have no reservations about recommending this service – in fact, I’ve done so a number of times already! To Amber and the entire Baby Sleep Site team: thank you for a most wonderful service. Your patience, humour, and quality advice have been second to none and are worth every penny!

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You heard Ilana’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

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Meet Ali Koch, and Hear Her Story

Readers, meet Allison Koch. Ali lives in Pennsylvania and is mom to little Noelle. Noelle was a great sleeper – that is, until the 4 month sleep regression hit! That’s when Ali contacted The Baby Sleep Site® for help. Here’s her story…

The Baby Sleep Site: Ali, tell our readers a little bit about Noelle’s sleep history.

Ali: My daughter was sleeping through the night by the time she was 3 months old, and she slept great from 3-4 months. Right around 4.5 months, however, she started waking up in the middle of the night again, and so I nursed her back to sleep.

From then on, she was waking up at least 2, 3, or 4 times a night, and would remain awake for an hour and a half to two hours at a time! My husband and I took turns some nights, and we were extremely frustrated! I felt like I was going through the newborn stage all over again.

The Baby Sleep Site: Wow, you must’ve been exhausted! So how did you come across The Baby Sleep Site, and at what point did you decide to get personalized help?

Ali: I came to across the Baby Sleep Site in a Google search – I was searching for baby schedules and sleeping habits. I had already read MANY different books and theories about how to help my baby sleep better, so I decided to look into the site.

Ali Koch-1At first, I questioned the things I read on the site, and whether or not they actually worked. I was also skeptical about paying money to have someone help me after I felt like I had already tried everything on my own.

Finally, when my daughter was 9 months old, I sent a general email inquiring about which services would be best for our family. I was still EXTREMELY skeptical, and I really didn’t think they would offer me any advice that I hadn’t already tried or read about. But after about another three weeks of trying other methods, I finally gave in, paid the money, and begged for help!

The Baby Sleep Site: No problem; we’ve worked with skeptics before! ;) So tell us – what happened after you bought your consultation package?

Ali: I got my Personalized Sleep Plan™ from Nicole very quickly – and it was awesome! The plan was extremely thorough and very helpful.

The Baby Sleep Site: And once you started implementing the sleep plan at home, what happened? How did things go?

Ali: I’ll admit, the first week was difficult. My daughter was not as consistent as I’d hoped she’d be. But through many e-mails back and forth with Nicole, we continued to tweak the plan so that it suited my daughter. And I’m happy to say that, after the first week, she was only waking once or twice a night, and falling back to sleep VERY easily – within ten minutes!

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome! Glad to hear you stuck with it and made the necessary changes to your plan. How did Noelle’s progress continue after that first week, and how is she sleeping now?

Ali: Two or three weeks into using the plan, she was starting to sleep much more consistently. Within a month, she was going to bed each night at around 7 p.m. and sleeping until 7 a.m., with two good naps during the day. She would still occasionally wake up between 4 or 5 a.m., but honestly, she progressed by leaps and bounds during the time, thanks to Nicole’s help!

Noelle is now 20 months, and she’s still sleeping so much better than she used to. She now takes one nap in the afternoon, and usually sleeps 11 hours, straight through the night. Every once in awhile, if she is sick or teething, she’ll wake up, but it’s okay, because she’s able to fall back to sleep on her own.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s some impressive progress – from waking 4 times a night, for one or two hours at a time, down to no night wakings — and in just a few weeks! We’re so happy for you and your family, Ali. :) Any final words for our readers?

Ali: We are so blessed and happy we came across this site, and that we went with this service! I highly recommend it!!

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You heard Ali’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

 
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Meet Julie Phillips, and Hear Her Story

Readers, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Julie Phillips. A mom of two little girls, Julie lives in Maryland. She came to us for help when her second daughter was just a few months old. Here’s Julie’s story…

The Baby Sleep Site: So, Julie, tell us a bit about your family’s sleep history.

Julie: I had many sleep struggles with my older daughter. In fact, when my older daughter was a baby, I had even hired a local sleep consultant to help with her sleep problems. It didn’t go well – the consultant’s approach was too harsh, and it went against my instincts as a parent.

I didn’t want to repeat any of that with my younger daughter. However, I did want to get my baby off on the right foot, and help her know how to self-soothe at a young age.

The Baby Sleep Site: That’s understandable! So, is that why you reached out to The Baby Sleep Site for help?

Julie: Julie PhillipsYes. I initially discovered this site while looking at sleep articles online. I began getting the free newsletters and reading through the articles on the site. At that time, my second daughter was only 3 months old and was not a particularly difficult sleeper. But again, I really wanted to start her off on the right foot, after my experiences with my older daughter.

I wanted to sleep train, but I wanted to do something gentle that fit with my parenting style and with my baby’s temperament (which I now know is the key to implementing a successful sleep strategy!) And so, when my daughter was 4 months old, I decided to do a consultation with Nicole’s team of sleep consultants.

The Baby Sleep Site: And we’re so glad you did! :) Tell us – what were your first impressions of the consultation process?

Julie: Well, to begin with, I was surprised at how quickly I received my plan. I submitted my daughter’s sleep history, and within just a few days, I received a really detailed, 20-page plan from Amy (my sleep consultant) for nights and naps.

At first, as I looked through the plan, I felt nervous to start. My baby had been co-sleeping, she needed to be swaddled in order to sleep, and she had to have a pacifier every night. I just wasn’t sure how we were going to wean her away from all of that!

But I did start – and I followed the plan to the letter, asking Amy for clarification along the way. I received lots of helpful e-mails from her in response (many of which she wrote at no additional charge to me – thanks, Amy!)

The Baby Sleep Site: Good for you! And now that you’ve had some time to use that plan, and to reflect, tell us – did it work?

Julie: I’m happy to say that just a few nights after we started implementing our Personalized Sleep Plan™ (nights with VERY minimal crying, I might add!), my little girl learned how to sleep all night in her crib, unswaddled, without a pacifier, and only needing to wake once or twice during the night for feedings! It was amazing!!

Amy was there every step of the way, of course, to support me through the process. She was so supportive and encouraging as we worked together – she never made me feel like I was bothering her with my questions.

Honestly, the Personalized Sleep Plan™ has been nothing short of a miracle. It gave me the details I needed to be successful in sleep training, as well as the confidence I needed to actually carry it through and stay consistent. It was worth ever penny I spent on it — and truly, it’s a FRACTION of the cost of most other sleep consultants!

The Baby Sleep Site: Woohoo! We love stories like yours, Julie. So, now that your consultation is done, and that your little girls are sleeping well, tell us – how would you summarize your experience with The Baby Sleep Site?

Julie: The individualized attention, support, warmth, and understanding that I received during my consultation with The Baby Sleep Site was truly amazing. I cannot say enough good things about Nicole, her team, and her site. The access to all the free resources, as well as the affordable sleep packages, are truly a gift. I feel lucky to have found this site, because after just one short week of work, my whole family is now happy and rested! And there was so little crying involved – it was truly worth it. I have already recommended this site to several of my friends – and I’ll continue to do so!

The Baby Sleep Site: Well, thanks, Julie. :) Any last words for our readers?

Julie: The bottom line is this: Nicole’s team will do whatever it takes, and whatever you need, to ensure you get your child (or children) the rest they need. They gave me my sanity and my life back – and they can do it for you!

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You heard Julie’s story – now, we want to hear yours! Tell us your sleep training story in the comments section below!

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How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before Christmas

Sleep Training Over the Holiday Break
Christmas is right around the corner, dear readers! Of course, you probably already knew that ;) I’ll bet your local big-box stores have had their Christmas displays out for a few weeks now, right? Mine have. It seems like the Christmas season is getting earlier and earlier these days; before we know it, we’ll be seeing Christmas ads in September!

Anyway, speaking of the Christmas season, while all of us no doubt have plenty of work to do between now and Christmas (what with the baking and the decorating and the shopping), we know some of you want to utilize the next few weeks to add another task to your holiday to-do-list: sleep training! Every year, we have a number of families contact our Sleep Helpdesk in early December, eager to get started on sleep training now so that they can have sleeping babies by Christmas. (Because the holidays are so much nicer when you aren’t an exhausted, bleary-eyed, zombie, aren’t they? ;) )

And that’s what we’re talking about in today’s article. Is sleep training between now and Christmas break right idea for your family? And, if so – how should you go about doing it? Read on for details!

Should You Sleep Train Your Baby or Toddler Before the Holidays?

Before we get into the ‘hows’ of sleep training, let’s first take a look at whether or not this is a good plan for your family or not, given the realities of what your particular December will look like.

Sleep training before the holidays may be a good idea if…

  • …you can fit it into your schedule. Sleep training does require some work (on your part and on your baby’s), so if the next few weeks are jam-packed for you, consider waiting until your schedule is lighter
  • …you will be home for the next few weeks, and will not be doing any traveling. Sleep training goes best when you can do it during a time when you have at least a week (preferably 2) of consistent, normal days at home.
  • …you don’t have out-of-town visitors coming to stay between now and Christmas (or, if you do have overnight visitors, they are visitors who will accept your sleep training plans and will not criticize, hinder, or discourage you.)

Sleep training before the holidays may not be a good idea if…

  • …you know you will be too busy to devote your full energy and attention to it.
  • …you will be traveling (especially overnight traveling), or you have lots of holiday plans that will keep you away from home and will mean lots of ‘unusual’, inconsistent days.
  • …you have friends or family visiting who will not be supportive of your decision to sleep train.

How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before the Holidays

Now, as for how to work on sleep training your baby or toddler over the break: here are two options for you to explore.

If you want help with sleep training, then contact us!

We offer a fast turn-around on all of our sleep consultation packages – clients usually receive their Personalized Sleep Plan™ within 4 days of sending us their family sleep history forms. That means that if you were to purchase a consultation package within the next week, you would have your Personalized Sleep Plan™ in plenty of time to start sleep training now, and possibly have a well-rested, sleeping baby by Christmas. Just don’t wait too long to contact us; our HelpDesk will be closed for a few days during the week of Christmas (see our holiday hours here).

If you want to handle sleep training on your own, then you may want to do the following…

  • Work to establish a consistent daytime routine. This means a consistent morning wake-up time and a consistent bedtime. It also means fairly consistent nap and feeding times. Need help figuring out your ideal schedule? Check out our sample sleep and feeding schedules.
  • Decide whether you’re going to work on sleep training for naps first, or sleep training for nights, or both. You can separate out nights and naps, and just pick one to tackle at the start. That can make the process easier on everyone (particularly if you feel anxious about sleep training, or if you have a slow-to-adapt baby who is resistant to change). For more info about nap training vs. night training, read this article. For info about how nap sleep differs from night sleep, read through this article.
  • Decide on how you’re going to approach sleep training. There are lots of ways to sleep train your baby or toddler. And that’s a good thing – it allows you to choose a method that’s suited to your baby and your unique family situation and parenting preferences. Need helping selecting the best method for your family? To see a cheat sheet with 5 of the most common methods explained, click here. For a more thorough explanation of how to sleep train, check out our free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, or our even more comprehensive e-book The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5 Step System To Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers).

Nicole’s Note:
“In my experience, the most important step is often the hardest and that’s taking the first step in the first place. We have two weeks before Christmas and many babies will be sleeping MUCH better by then, if you start today!”

A Few Reminders For Families Who Will Sleep Train Before Christmas

A few parting words, before we wrap up this article. First, if you’ll be sleep training in the next few weeks, remember that consistency is key. Stick with your sleep training plan for at least a week before making any changes to it. It may take a week or more for some babies to show any improvement, and toddlers may take even longer (2 or 3 weeks, perhaps). With this in mind, don’t expect lightning-fast results. You may be able to solve all your child’s sleep issues in the course of the next few weeks, but that will not be the case for every family. What you can definitely do, though, is to get a good start on sleep training, and then carry your efforts over into the new year.

So, will you be sleep training before the holiday break? If so — what’s your plan?

If sleep training is part of your holiday plans, browse these resources that are sure to help:

  • Want to work on your newborn’s sleep over the holidays? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep.
  • Want to focus on naps over the break? Be sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
  • Want Unlimited Product Access? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately!
  • Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.
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